Despite efforts, police lag in local recruitment : Cayman News Service

Governor Helen Kilpatrick inspects RCIPS officers on parade

(CNS): Trainee police officers are the highest paid of all new recruits in the uniform services but the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has the hardest time recruiting Caymanians into its ranks. Customs, immigration and the fire service all have 100% local staff or close to it, whereas Caymanians make up just 48% of RCIPS staff, even lower than the prison service, where 52% are local.

Of the 380 police officers, 168 are Caymanians (44%) of various ranks in the service as high as deputy commissioner of police. The service also has 68 civilian staff, 45 of whom are Caymanians, for a total of 210 local staff out of 448 people in total employed by the RCIPS.

This month the police service began its fourth targeted recruitment drive to attract Caymanians to train to be police officers, and it is making an all-out effort to find at least ten who can make it through the selection process, including holding an open day on Grand Cayman and another one on Cayman Brac this last weekend. They plan to begin a new recruit class by the end of December 2017 or early January 2018.

Police Commissioner Derek Byrne told CNS, “The RCIPS has been struggling over the years to secure Caymanian applicants; nonetheless we have been endeavouring to increase the numbers of our Caymanian police officers.”

Among these afforts, the RCIPS participated in the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre’s career day programme to educated young Caymanians about the service in general and the benefits of working in the organisation. “We plan to do more of these projects in the schools in an effort to curb the perception that the public has of the police and thus encouraging Caymanian applicants,” CoP Byrne said.

By contrast, Collector of Customs Charles Clifford told CNS that the customs department has no problem recruiting Caymanians. “In fact, in our last recruitment drive last year, we received just over 300 applications from Caymanians,” he noted. Clifford said that all but one of the customs department staff members are local, and the single non-Caymanian employee is married to a Caymanian.

At the immigration department every single staff member is Caymanian and in the Cayman Islands Fire Service all but two (129 out of 131) are Caymanian. One of the two non-Caymanian staff members is Chief Fire Officer David Hails.

Like the police, Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service struggles to attract local staff. Currently, the prisons have 150 staff members, 78 Caymanians and 72 non-Caymanians, and there are currently two vacancies available, prison authorities told CNS. But prison recruits, along with fire service recruits, are the worst paid, recieving only $2,191 – $2,947 per month (Grade Q on the government pay scale).

However, a spokesperson for the prisons said remuneration is an individual negotiation. “Most recruits join the service with no correctional experience or qualifications and start at point 1 of the pay band. If a recruit did have correctional experience or qualifications, a higher point on the pay scale could be considered.”

All new recruits for the fire service start at point 1 of Grade Q on the pay scale, a spokesperson said.

At the other end of the scale, police recruits recieve a monthly salary of $2,711 – $3,649 (Grade O), which is the same as a fire officer who has finished not just the training but also the probation period in the CIFS. Anyone without prior policing experience would start at point 1 on the band, according to the RCIPS.

Trainee customs officers start on a salary of $2,453 – $3,297 per month (Grade P). If the candidate has only the basic skills and experience required, they will start at the minimum point of the pay grade, according to the collector of customs.

“However, when a candidate’s previously acquired skills and experience indicate that they will contribute more than the minimum required upon hire, they can be offered a salary above the minimum of the pay grade. A candidate’s previous salary may be taken into consideration as well,” Clifford added.

Immigration is the only services in which recruits enter a different pay band after basic training. They start on Grade Q (customarily at the bottom, which is $2,191), and after successfully completing a long training period of six months, their salary increases to Grade P during their probabtion period.

Fully trained officers who have completed their probation period in the prison service, immigration and RCIPS are all on Grade M, which is $3,311 – $4,453 per month, usually set at the minimum point of the pay grade. However, as Clifford explained, at customs this could be higher if it is justified by the candidate’s previous experience and/or salary.

Police officers also recieve a $200 monthly allowance.

Fully qualified immigration officers start off in a lower pay band, receiving $2,993 – $4,023 per month (Grade N), while fire officers who have completed their probation period are at the bottom of the pile in terms of pay, getting just $2,711 – $3,649 per month (Grade O).

How long it takes to go from the beginning of training to the end of probation also varies widely. Police recruits may be the best paid but they also have the longest probation period by far — two years — following 17 weeks basic training, so it will take them 41 months to progress to the Grade M pay band.

The customs basic training course lasts 16 week, afterwhich officers go through a probation period between six and 12 months. Fully qualified immigration officers must have gone through six months training and six months probationary period.

For the fire service, the training period for new recruits is three months followed by a six month probationary period, which can be extended for a period not exceeding six months if necessary. “So there is the possibility of a 12 month probationary period if required,” a spokesperson said.

The probation period for the prison service appears to be variable. Prison officer basic training lasts for 12 weeks, which consists of eight weeks of classroom and practical exercises and four weeks of on the job training.

“Recruits remain on same pay scale until promoted to prison officer rank,” a spokesperson for HMCIPS said. “Promotion depends on vacancies and competency of recruits to assume additional responsibilities.”

Training period Probation period Training pay/mth Probation pay/mth Qualified pay/mth % Caymanian
Customs 16 weeks 6-12 months $2,453 – $3,297 (P) $3,311 – $4,453 (M) 100%
Fire 3 months 6-12 months $2,191 – $2,947 (Q) $2,711 – $3,649 (O) 98.5%
Immigration 6 months 6 months $2,191 – $2,947 (Q) $2,453 – $3,297 (P) $2,993 – $4,023 (N) 100%
Police 17 weeks 2 years $2,711 – $3,649 (O) $3,311 – $4,453 (M) 48%
Prison 12 weeks variable $2,191 – $2,947 (Q) $3,311 – $4,453 (M) 52%
Pay Grade Per month Per year
M $3,311 – $4,453 $39,732 – $53,436
N $2,993 – $4,023 $35,916 – $48,276
O $2,711 – $3,649 $32,532 – $43,788
P $2,453 – $3,297 $29,436 – $39.564
Q $2,191 – $2,947 $26,292 – $35,364

Tags: Cayman Islands Customs Department, Cayman Islands Fire Service, Charles Clifford, David Hails, Department of Immigration, Derek Byrne, Featured, Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service, RCIPS

Category: Local News

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